What is love? The poets write about it. The movies try to show it. The experts discuss it. And yet somehow, even though people claim to know so much about it, our society seems to shed love at strike one, like water rolling off a raincoat. They seem to think that love is easy. That love is butterfly filled stomachs, rose filled hands, sparkle filled eyes, perfection filled life. And when it gets messy, it isn’t love anymore.
I say “when” because it does get messy. Love starts as butterflies and roses and sparkles and perfection. But over time, it changes. Cloud nine drifts away in the wind and comfort settles in. Love hardens, in a good way, a solid way. Butterflies are replaced with the feeling of home. Roses are replaced with clean dishes. Sparkles are hidden behind smiles. Perfection is never achieved.
Love is filling the husband’s cookie jar even though he’s been gone all week and you don’t feel close to him. Love is letting your wife pick the movie even though it is full of drama and kissing. It’s cleaning out the litter box even though it’s her cat. It’s folding his laundry right after it comes out of the dryer. It’s bringing home dinner that you bought with your spending money. It’s getting his favorite treat at the grocery store just because. It’s holding her hand in the Menard’s parking lot and kissing his cheek in front of his family.
Love is always leaning in. Even when she’s right. Even when he’s frustrating. Even when times are hard. Even when you’re tired. Love is leaning in, physically and mentally. Choosing to lean towards each other and the commitment you’ve made. Choosing to lean in when it’s hard and messy. Because real love is selfless. And while sometimes it does look like flowers and sparkles and magic, most of the time it looks like two people, living and working side by side, always leaning in and thinking of the other person’s well being.
What is love? Love is showing your spouse Jesus, every day, the best you can, and asking for forgiveness when you can’t. As Katharine Hepburn says… “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only with what you are expecting to give—which is everything.”